My puffy morning face cushions the small indented buttons that are my eyes, like those of an old pink armchair and remain this way until the introduction of coffee restores and dilates them. I’m standing half-dressed in a T-shirt like some obscene cartoon character, all cold feet on the tiles wishing I had put my dressing gown on before going to the kitchen or that I even owned a pair of slippers.
Each day is full of choice and choice should not lead to repetition, but even choices once seemingly easy become hard. Indecision mounts to higher levels that cascade over me ever more slowly. For example, the choice of breakfast is the small freedom of eating something within the parameters of convention and within the limitations of what is in the house. If I have milk I won’t leave the house today. If I don’t have milk I will venture out across the street, but I will put this off for as long as possible so that breakfast occurs at lunch and lunch occurs at dinner.
Afterwards I will drink coffee until the day is full of promise and potential and I can focus, and then drink more until my head is electric and I can’t. I will move my laptop to the living room and open tabs to the point of drowning and the frequent extended breaks to the toilet with my phone will be curtailed by the sensation of my legs going numb as the soft alarm to return.
An increasing amount of regular days are morphing into these indulgent Sundays, or lazy days, where the mental calisthenics of thinking-in-circles is the only strenuous activity I will see before the day is done. But I choose what I eat and what I drink and what music soundtracks my day even though these choices eat up a large portion of the day. If I’m lucky I’ll select a longer record to listen to, one whose side seems endless. Otherwise I will hit play on the same side 4 or 5 times in a row without changing it. Jazz seems more sympathetic to repeat listens and it takes longer for the melodies to become familiar and lodged in my mind.
I will also procrastinate on my guitar, though I’m not very good and certainly can’t play Jazz save for a studied note-for-note rendition of So What?, and learning an improvised melody seems like the antithesis of Jazz anyway, like that of setting in stone a statue of someone who was walking and free. And I don’t think Miles was thinking of the pavement as he laid the slabs in the wake of his step. The recording is just one of many performances, but has become the reference for all future performances. Similarly, taking a photograph will over time replace the memories surrounding the event, and soon you will remember only in relation to that document.
However, there are of course our earliest memories that go undocumented, and though they are rendered foggy and confused we can still recall them, even if we don’t know their significance of being recorded in the first place.
One of my earliest memories is of seeing a pair of sheepskin-lined boots in a cupboard that had wooden slats like those of an airing cupboard.
I have another early memory that is most likely not a real memory, but the memory of an early dream I had. It takes place in the old house in which I was born, and unlike instances in which you dream of the familiar such being in your house and you wake up and realise it was not really your house at all, this was my house and I’ve tripped down a set of carpeted stairs and I’m never landing, never getting to the end, and in order to reach the bottom I have to first travel halfway down the steps and then I have to travel halfway of the remaining half, and halfway of that half and so on. The divisions of space getting infinitesimally smaller until I am hovering above the beige carpet at night, looking down at my pyjama top touching the floor that I know I won’t.